The UK's Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is to spend £500,000 on a campaign to attract more school-goers into science and maths classes.
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It is also calling on science and engineering businesses to sponsor local schools to run Faraday challenge days. These use practical challenges and interactive learning to open up science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)-based careers to 12- and 13-year olds.
The IET said migrant workers filled 20% of professional science jobs in the UK. One in four UK engineering businesses believed they will not find skilled British recruits within five years.
The IET said the shortage of STEM graduates was because not enough young people in schools take STEM subjects.
The IET's head of education Gareth James said a Faraday challenge day more than doubled the number of teenagers interested in STEM-based careers from 27% to 56%. "If every school in the UK took part the skills shortage could be reversed in under nine years," he said.
Last year 210 schools took part, and 270 are expected to run challenge days this year.
The day costs an average of £37 per child. Businesses can sponsor the Faraday Challenge for as little as £3,000, James said.
The challenge days kick off in October.